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This review is from: Brother Orchid (DVD)
Edward G. Robinson is somewhat cast against type in this film. It has been years since I have seen this movie; it's never been one that has received much exposure via television. It's a real treat to see Robinson take a turn at comedy; something he didn't do often but he had the skills to do it. Brother Orchid was released in 1940 & was directed by Lloyd Bacon. It's presented in the full screen format (1.33:1) & is in black & white.
Little John Sarto (Edward G. Robinson) has had enough of the rackets after someone in his Protection Agency has knocked someone off. He decides to retire, go to Europe & get some real class. After five years & broke (he's made some incredibly bad investments), he decides to return to New York City & become the head of his Protection Agency again. His former pals welcome him with open arms but it's only a ploy. Jack Buck (Humphrey Bogart, who was still a couple of years away from superstardom) has him thrown out on his ear. Flo Addams (Ann Sothern in a hilarious role) is his long suffering girlfriend. She appeals to Buck that he & Sarto should make up & become partners again. Buck agrees but it's all a set up in order to eliminate Sarto. The hit fails but just barely. Sarto ends up at a monastery becoming Brother Orchid. Brother Superior (Donald Crisp) takes him on as a monk with some funny consequences, everything has an angle & a hustle to Sarto. After hiding in the monastery for a few months Sarto reads that Flo is going to marry a hick cowboy from Montana, Clarence Fletcher (Ralph Bellamy). Fletcher had already been in some scenes earlier in the movie. The scene where he's driving Flo & Sarto to the sanitarium to get Willie the Knife (Allen Jenkins) is a riot, he's doing bird calls while Flo & Sarto are in the backseat talking. Ralph Bellamy made a living out of playing the "other guy" who never gets the girl. I don't know for sure but this might be the only movie where Bellamy DID get the girl! I won't spoil the ending for you but it's really a change of pace for Eddie G.!
There are some bonus features on the disc. There's an audio commentary track & several short subjects: A vintage newsreel,"Henry Busse & His Orchestra" (musical short); two cartoons, "Busy Bakers" (color) & "Slap Happy Pappy" (b&w Porky Pig) & two trailers, one of Brother Orchid & one of It All Came True. The film restoration is excellent as is the audio track.